I stopped at my bank last week to deposit a check. I could have used the ATM, but I am so glad that I didn’t because if I had, I probably would not have met Harold.
There were 3 or 4 people ahead of me in the line-up, so knowing that it would take a few minutes, I amused myself by simultaneously watching three different cooking and home improvement shows on three wall mounted TVs. There was no sound of course, so I was reading the captioning on each in turn. I was feeling relaxed, calm, not really focused on anything, just waiting my turn.
Moments passed. Then, directly in front of me, a tiny elder woman, who was now first in line, started toward one of the tellers stations. It was obvious she was intent on getting her business completed quickly, as she moved forward before the customer had quite finished and she had to step back again. Her backward movement caused my attention to be drawn to the customer directly ahead of us. He was facing the counter and from my position behind him, I could see only his white hair and the bright red team jacket that he wore.
I heard him say to the teller in a deep, strong voice… “Have a Great Day!” and the teller, to whom he was speaking replied; “You too Harold – see you next week!”
The impatient woman in front of me, again made her move, heading for the wicket Harold was leaving. So intent was she on her task, that she narrowly avoiding bumping into him. As she passed him Harold looked up, directly at me. His eyes seemed to be completely black, clear, bright and piercing and without a moments hesitation he said to me; “You, are a handsome man sir.” I was so surprised by his statement and struck by the genuine warmth and generosity that filled it, I blurted out “why, thank YOU sir” instantly reaching out to shake his hand, not even realizing that he was walking with a cane.
He managed to not drop the cane as he switched it to his left hand, taking my hand in his warm, dry and firm grip. His eyes never left mine as he spoke again; “I REALLY care about you!” he said. It happened so fast and as he let go of my hand I saw him reach out to the next person in line and say “I REALLY care about you too!”
It barely registered in my mind when I faintly heard the teller to my left say “I can help you here…” As Harold continued down the line greeting each in turn, I dragged myself away to complete my transaction with the young woman who had called me. I was so overcome by his innocent and sincere gift! Simultaneously humbled and exalted by his innocence and compassion. He was like a gregarious 4 year old, who walks up to anyone and everyone, inviting them to play with him. I wondered to myself afterwards. How has he attained this state of grace? Imagine the wake of warm feelings he leaves behind him as he sails through this world, touching people for just a moment. He dropped a boulder into the placid ocean of my reality that is still rippling outward as you hear and hopefully feel, some of what Harold so unselfishly bequeathed to me, that I attempt to pass on to you.
I REALLY care about you!